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Stand out from the crowd with Parkbench. We build neighborhood websites for hyperlocalized areas sponsored by a single agent per area, creating unique online content that promotes recognition and drives business for the agent. Now a network of platforms, Parkbench websites engage potential customers, designed to inform visitors of local events, news, and information about the community. Parkbench also provides free marketing tools for business professionals through their main website.


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Most agents use similar if not identical marketing techniques for lead generation, which can have the effect of immunizing a community to those advertising efforts. Content marketing, which is based on the theory of reciprocity in advertising, is huge in online marketing and creating brand awareness through search engine optimization. Parkbench sites provide services to business owners and caring community members, instantly distinguishing sponsors from the rest of the agent pool. 

With the goal of bringing communities closer together, for two years we’ve been helping agents be the best professionals possible by providing them with resources and tools to create better online content. 


Related Articles

3 Tips to Find Listings in the Current Market
Well, that was quite a summer real estate market! Huge year-over-year valuation gains, bidding wars and lower than low levels of inventory. At one point, there were even more NAR members than listings! However, things do appear to be cooling off a bit and leveling out in many areas. But that doesn't mean that the inventory shortage (and increased competition) is going to just disappear. It will mostly likely be more of a slow fade. Then again, maybe not. Predicting and timing markets is a tricky business, and hardly an exact science. The point is, finding listings and sellers isn't going to get easier overnight. You need motivation, a plan, data, and market insight. You need to get in front of would-be sellers to earn their trust and pique their interest. Here are three ways to do it with help from RPR. 1. Put RPR data to work for you One of the most important things you can do with potential clients and prospects is build trust and confidence. If someone is apprehensive about selling, the housing market or even the economy as a whole, they need reassurance that they're making the right moves. They want to hear more than opinions; they want charts, graphs, stats and info from expert sources. You can deliver that and much more! With RPR, every REALTOR® is a click or fingertip away from accurate, up-to-date property and market data. The trick is figuring out how to convey this hard data to customers in an easy to digest manner. Here's a couple of examples of how to put RPR data to work for you: Run an RPR Market Activity Report and use those facts and figures to create a social media post (or flyer) to give an update on the area. It could be one street, one neighborhood or one ZIP code. You can even draw the area by hand on a map! Include active, pending and sold information for the last 3-6 months. Or include how much home values have increased in the last calendar year. While many homeowners are aware that their homes have risen in value, not all of them know the exact figure. Providing this type of information can really open their eyes, get them thinking, and position you as the go-to source for local market knowledge. Create an RPR Neighborhood Report and use that data to make a quick video that will create buzz about a particular neighborhood. Just record footage of the neighborhood and use a quick video editor app such as Ripl, then record your voiceover. In 30-60 seconds, you can give important stats on the area's home values and sales activity, the demographics of the population, economical statistics, and quality of life tidbits including parks, commute times and public transportation. And of course, amenities such as restaurants, retail shops, walkability scores and more. Post the video to Instagram or Facebook and alert your sphere that this neighborhood is perfect for their lifestyle. This is a great "soft sell" approach, where you're giving a neighborhood update that isn't 100% about home prices, and can go a long way in connecting you to a community and its residents. Be sure to include a call-to-action line at the end, such as, "I've done a ton more research on (NEIGHBORHOOD NAME) and if you're interested, I can create a report and share it directly with you." Hint: the reports you follow up with can easily be made in RPR! 2. Fine-tune your prospecting Prospecting is the ultimate proactive approach to new business. While some top producers acquire listings strictly through referrals and repeats, most agents need to put in some hustle to find new prospects and leads. And RPR is built to help you succeed at it! Tapping into RPR as a resource in these efforts is a smart approach, as there are many ways to apply its data, reports and maps to a prospecting plan. You can go in-depth with geographical prospecting to find every homeowner in a specific area who's owned their home more than 15 years, then make a mailing labels list (up to 2,000, for free, every month), and send each one a report on their home. Or you can keep it as simple as creating a one-page flyer about their home and drop them off in person or send out a handful of mailers. With RPR as a prospecting tool, you have options. For an in-depth look at everything RPR offers, we encourage you to download our exclusive eBook on prospecting for new clients and leads. Get How to Farm and Prospect for new Clients: an Exclusive RPR eBook and you'll have one of the industry's go-to sources for prospecting. It's filled with tips, step-by-step how-to's, quick video lessons, success stories and more. Keep it on your desktop and add it to your digital library to learn: Prospecting/Farming basics: the who, what and why's of geographic farming Formulas for Turnover and Absorption rates A step-by-step guide on how to set up geo farming areas in RPR How to generate a mailing labels list/CSV file Which RPR reports are best suited for prospecting Agent success stories that you can emulate This guide is the north star when it comes to real estate prospecting. It's a map to success and all you need to do is read it, follow it and put it into action to gain warm leads and new clients. Click the link and download your exclusive copy today. 3. Make a lasting impression with your listing presentation Congrats! If you've made it to the presentation phase, you're now just minutes away from nailing down a new listing and hitting paydirt. This is your time to shine, put your best foot forward, knock their socks off and every other cliche in the book. Your listing presentation is a resume, a capabilities brochure and a first impression all rolled into one. Using the tools and reports within RPR to create your listing presentation is a smart and savvy way to impress your clients and give you a sharp, competitive edge. The first thing you'll want to do is have a pre-discussion with your potential client. During this first step, make sure you do plenty of listening. Ask leading questions that get them talking about why they are selling. Find out all you can about their priorities and goals. Doing this type of homework will help you tailor the presentation around their needs. For sellers, the most important part of working with a REALTOR® is the agent's ability and experience in pricing the home. This is where you and RPR come together to form an unstoppable team. Here are some boiled-down highlights you'll want to consider using: RPR's Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®): This pricing tool sets the standard for automated real estate valuation models. It goes beyond the traditional AVM by incorporating listing and sales data from the MLS into the equation. The RVM® is also accompanied by a Confidence Score—a value between zero and five stars that indicates the level to which each of the multiple models agrees with other estimated values for a given property. High confidence scores indicate that other models yield similar estimates for the property. Watch this short video for details. RPR's CMA is used to determine a price or price range for a property that is both quantitative—based on comps and market information, as well as qualitative—reflecting your knowledge of the property, neighborhood and market. RPR's wizard walks you through five simple steps to generate a comparative analysis. You'll confirm the home's facts, search for and adjust comps, and land on your own list price by reviewing the analysis. RPR's Refine Value tool: If your seller has home upgrades, consider RPR's Refine Value tool to determine the value of a home based on property characteristics, improvements made and market conditions. Use the simple sliding scales to refine the home's value based on your assessment of local market conditions, the interior and exterior of the home's condition, lot size, view and privacy. Seller's Report: Now bring it all together with the RPR Seller's Report. This custom report can be created quickly, and includes a photo of the property, plus your photo and contact information. Plus, you can add customized pages. Inside, you'll find details on the subject property, local market conditions, side-by-side property comparisons, mortgage and distressed information, tax assessment history, and more. Here's a guide to learning all the details about a RPR Seller's Report. To create a truly compelling listing presentation, you must stand out from all the other agents, provide relevant data and prove your value. You must convince the owners that you're the best REALTOR® to help them realize their home selling goals. Check out this article, "21 Steps to a Stellar Listing Presentation," for a step-by-step plan to winning that listing. Find sellers with RPR As you can see, if you have the will, RPR has the tools to help you gain listings. Use these assets and resources to identify, market yourself and pitch your services. Sellers are out there, and RPR can help you find them! To view the original article, visit the RPR
97% of Cold Calling is a Waste of Time
Let's warm up those cold tactics with some new insights into increasing your lead generation abilities. A good start is the idea of a hiring a person that is dedicated to making those outbound efforts. Inside Sales Agents, or ISAs, have long been considered a crucial role on successful real estate teams. Hiring an Inside Sales Agent in Real Estate As your business grows, you can quickly begin to feel stretched. You and your team may have difficulties finding time to prospect or responding fast enough to leads, so your pipeline and conversion rates can suffer. Hiring an ISA ensures a dedicated person is generating and converting leads in the office while you and your agents are running the rest of your business. This hire allows you and your team members to focus on your core roles, and they are typically charged with uploading all of the contact information and conversation notes into your database. This frees your team up from most admin tasks, so for example, buyer's agents don't have to worry with anything administrative other than writing up a contract. The ISA role can vary with experience and job expectations. There are countless pay structures and compensation models to match each unique ISA role. However, the first thing you need to do before hiring is calculate the ROI. It doesn't make sense to hire an ISA for cold-calling purposes if you aren't generating more deals (i.e., money). Here's a handy cost breakdown guide for your real estate business: Again, this is just a model. Lots of real estate businesses employ and pay ISAs differently. The main objective of this is to ensure positive revenue from hiring an Inside Sales Agent. Turn Cold Calling into Smart Prospecting Let's flip that terrible stat. Here's how to turn 97% wastefulness into 80% productivity. Taking a good look at your communication strategies can do some real good for your success rate. It's critical to be informed about your leads, their interests, and to hit them with timely and relevant information. Imagine the following message from a real estate agent: Hi, my name is Chad and I'm calling to see if you're interested in buying a house. How likely are you to respond with anything else than, "No, I'm not interested," or with "I'm just looking." Not only are success rates of cold calls low, but they typically cost your business 60% more. Now, let's examine a more tailored approach: Hi Susie! I noticed you were looking at homes in downtown Charleston, and if you have a free moment this week, I can show you a couple houses of interest. What do you say? Two things changed in this scenario. First, the real estate agent is addressing the lead by name. He knows who he is calling. Second, he knows what Susie is looking for. By tailoring your message to the interests and behavior of your leads, you increase your chances of a positive sale. In fact, you're 51% more likely to achieve your sales numbers and 80% more productive. Using a Real Estate CRM for Smart Prospecting It's critical to have information about your leads at your fingertips. This means utilizing powerful software and the latest technology to make your prospecting so much more effective. By compiling a list of who the leads are, what areas/price points they're looking at and their timeline, you immediately have a "warm" list of leads to call. You know where to start the conversation and your sales effectiveness rises. This means you can easily create tailored messages to large groups of leads for smarter outreach. Talk about productivity!  The Power of Texting vs. Calling Just a few years ago, did a study revealing agents who called newly registered leads within five minutes were more likely to turn them into a closed deal. However, a troubling statistic shows that only 5-10% of people pick up the phone. Even with email, you can only expect a 20% open rate. However, with texting, 90% of people both open and respond to texts within five minutes. That is a serious game-changer! A Multi-Channel Strategy for Prospecting Using multiple forms of outreach in your marketing efforts can generate much more success in prospecting. The right CRM will let you implement plans that incorporate calls, texts, and emails, and every interaction will be automatically logged in the system so you can stay on top of to-dos and know exactly where each leads stands in the process. Here's a sample template for a basic smart prospecting plan: Call within the first five minutes if possible. This is important since you or your customer team could potentially speak with them while they are still on your site and explain further valuable search tools on the website. Answer: Ask the most important question. Doesn't Answer: Leave a voicemail (scroll down for suggestions). If the lead does not answer, you can send a text message (scroll down for suggestions) and continue to call at a steady, but subtle, rate over the next few weeks. If you have an email address, your lead also needs to be on a drip email plan. Touch Phone Call Example Scripts: This situation would occur if a lead registered on your site or a third-party site with at least their name and contact information. This example assumes you have basic information about what they are looking for. Questions: Hi, may I speak with [First Name]? How are you today? I received your contact info from your recent registration on my site, and I wanted to follow up with you quickly in case you had any questions about any of the homes you were browsing through. When are you looking to buy? I can set you up for eAlerts so you are the first to find out about new listings that fit your preferences. Even if you don't want to buy now, it's always good to see what's out there in your price range. Are you still interested in the [area name] around [price point of the home they were looking at]? If so, are you working with an agent already? I actually have an area expert for the neighborhood you are looking in. He/She can fill you in on the market for that area, can they give you a quick call later? Answers: Yes: Sounds good! Is this the best number to reach you? No: Is there a better time for me to reach you? No, don't call: Would you prefer email? I can arrange them so they only come as often as you like with the listings in your price range and area. No, don't contact me: I completely understand. Definitely take advantage of the site's search tools and if you see anything you want more information on in the future, we are here to help! First-touch Voicemail Script: Hi [first name], this is [your name] calling from [your company name]. I wanted to quickly check in and make sure you didn't have any further questions about the properties on our website. If so, I would love to help you get a temp of the area you are looking in. My number is [your number here], and I look forward to speaking with you soon. First-touch Text Script: If you don't receive an answer to the first phone call, it's always a good idea to send a follow-up text. Hey [first name]! Wanted to quickly follow-up with your visit to [your website name here] to see if you would be interested in chatting with our agent who has worked in that area for awhile. When are you looking to buy? Next Steps: Continue conversation with more qualifying questions and attempts to schedule a call. Alternative Tactic: Social Selling Hands down, people spend the majority of their time on social media — whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These channels are windows into who your leads are, what they're interested in, and even what they're complaining about. This gives you an unfiltered view into what they need, and an easy opportunity to place yourself at the front of their consideration. With a quick message or response, you can easily spark a conversation that turns into a $300k home deal. Being Effective at Real Estate Lead Generation Cold calling is a waste of time. Personalized messages are king when it comes to selling. Keep in mind, the homebuyer (or seller) already has a ton of information at their disposal. They don't need to be sold on what they want — they already know what they want! They want to know that you're going to provide personalized service for them. Hence, smart prospecting. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown
How to Generate Free Real Estate Business from Google
Google is a powerful search engine tool that helps users locate information online based on keywords. In short, Google uses these keywords to locate sources online and display them for you according to their relevance and popularity to your keywords. With 90.46% of the search engine market share, Google is by far the most popular, and it's no surprise it has claimed the generic term for looking up information online. Instead of saying, "Look it up online," you say, "Google it." There's plenty of opportunity on Google and real estate professionals must take advantage of its influential tools in order to grow their business and gain market share. If you want to find home buyers, you need to go where they are -- online. There's a trade-off between spending time vs. money when deciding between options for solutions. You can either spend more time solving a problem and less money, or you can spend more money and less time. When it comes to generation leads to grow your real estate business, Google also entails this trade-off. Google has two tools to help you reach and engage consumers: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Since SEM entails financing, I will share SEO strategies that generate free real estate business from Google. 1. Generating Real Estate Business with Search Engine Optimization for Google SEO is the "spend more time, save money" strategy and attracts consumers to your website, also known as organic traffic. You can increase the amount of organic to your website by tailoring its content to Google's algorithm. Your traffic will experience a snowball effect when implemented correctly – the more quality traffic you receive, the higher you'll rank on a relevant Search Engine Results List (SERL), and that means even more traffic. In a nutshell, that means including relevant keywords throughout content, consistently updating content, and keeping visitors on your website with valuable information. Below are tactics to enhance your website's SEO and increase organic website traffic: Real Estate Blogging – Each week, do some research and write a 500-word article about the real estate industry, your city, or helpful tips for buyers and sellers. Automated SEO City Reports – These are like real estate blogs but with specific information such as snapshots of homes for sale, featured properties, market data, school reports, cities, counties, and neighborhoods. Since this type of information is highly sought after by prospects, it will attract relevant traffic to your website. Update Pages with Keywords – Review each page and blog article on your website and see if its keyword is included in the title, each header, description, link, paragraph, and image file. Examine this article—can you figure out the keyword? It's important to note, keywords or keyword phrases do not have to match a search exactly. So a keyword phrase like "California Home Sales" would still be included in a search for "Homes for Sale in California." Include Outbound Links – Include a source to support the claim for each fact that you share to increase the credibility of your content. You can also use them to provide third-party tools that a buyer or seller might find useful. Examine this article, how are outbound links incorporated? Remove Broken Links – Broken links cause a poor user experience, hurts your SEO, and lowers your SERL ranking. After you've located broken links, go to your website and either update, remove, or set up a redirect for the link. Increase Backlinks – Backlinks are links on other websites that drive traffic to your website. For example, let's say you have a broker branded website and your own. If you include a link on your broker branded website that directs traffic to your website, that's a backlink. You can increase backlinks to your website by partnering with local community members, bloggers, newspapers, philanthropies, etc. Increase Web Page Load Speed – Your website's speed affects its bounce rate – the rate at which visitors exit your website without any interactions within 30 seconds. A high bounce rate will lower your SERL ranking. To decrease your website's load speed, you can compress images, remove unnecessary HTML/CSS code, unused page elements, etc. The HubSpot Website Grader tool is extremely useful in identify speed detractors in addition to performance, mobile adaptability, and security. Use Formatting with Headers and Bullet Points – Your writing should follow a basic structure that's scannable and easy to digest. Using headers at the beginning of sections, bullet points to separate ideas, and bold to emphasize words are just a few ways you can use formatting to make your writing scannable and reader friendly. Spelling and Grammar – Poor spelling and grammar will hurt your credibility, so double check your work. Grammarly is a free and useful spelling and grammar tool that checks for errors and recommends corrections as you type. You can install into Google Chrome as an extension. Pick a Catchy Title – Catchy titles include buzzwords like "The Top 5…" or "…in 2021" and get people to click on your article. Set Up Google Business – When a consumer begins their search online for an agent or brokerage to work with, their Google search might say, "Real estate agents in San Diego." A map with brokerages will appear that makes it easier to find local business. Setting up your business with Google will add your business to this map – which displays at the top of a local search. Mobile Adaptability – According to a Hitwise's Mobile Search Topics & Themes [US] Report, 60% of all online searches and 48% of real estate/properties industry searches were via mobile device. If your website isn't mobile compatible, Google will penalize your website and rank it lower on its SERL. If your website is mobile adaptive, you will rank higher and provide a good user experience for your website visitors. Now that we've gone over several ways to drive organic traffic to your website to generate free business from Google, let's go over how to convert that traffic. In order to convert organic traffic into leads, you must include lead capture forms and contact forms through out your website. 2. Converting Organic Traffic into Leads A home buyer looking for valuable, relevant content will find a buyer's resource page helpful. By setting up a lead capture form on valuable information like this, you can entice a website visitor to exchange their contact information for your buyer information – converting them into a lead. Additionally, a blog article, city reports, seller's resource page, listings page, and other tools like a home or comparative market analysis should be leveraged to capture and convert website traffic into a lead. In order to increase traffic and conversion rates, you must learn how to analyze data and make decisions based on your understanding of the data. Optimization is usually implemented through A/B testing. To learn more about analyzing website traffic to optimize your website's SEO, check out Google Analytics. When it comes to making important business decisions, you can either spend more time and less money or spend more money and less time. Attracting organic leads to generate free real estate business from Google is considered the former. Although SEO strategies take time to mature, they will generate passive leads that will consistently fill your funnel. To view the original article, visit the TorchX